How Much Work Experience Do I Need?

Jul 23, 2013
Tags: Admissions Committees, Admissions Requirements, School Selection, Work Experience

Monique MorelandSubmitted by Monique Moreland, Associate Director, Masters Admissions, Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University

As the demographics of graduate business school applicants change, admissions officers are often asked questions about what they look for in work experience. We are aware that candidates are interested in pursuing an MBA for varied reasons, including still being in that “student-mode,” wanting to get your career started early, and feeling that being younger will be an advantage. Although these are all great answers, the important thing to remember is that business school is an environment where you not only will learn concepts, applications, and theories from your faculty members, you will also be exchanging ideas with classmates from a variety of industries, functional areas, and professional backgrounds. Therefore, when you lack those experiences, it often can be difficult to fully engage in classroom discussions. This is not to say that students with limited work experience cannot be successful, because we often evaluate the quality of your experiences not just the quantity.

Essay questions on MBA applications are a great way to assess if you’re professionally ready. At the Tepper School of Business, we do not have a work experience requirement, however we do seek candidates who have made an impact. In one of our application essays, we ask candidates to provide an example of a time when they have made an impact in their professional or academic life. Schools will ask different questions related to work experience, but being able to answer this type of question will help you determine whether or not you are professionally ready to pursue an MBA.

We look forward to helping you throughout the process!

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